Managing an ever-evolving product portfolio is a high-stakes, dynamic undertaking. You need to invest in new features your target audience wants while also aligning development with long-term organizational goals.
Because portfolio management is so complex, planning tools like a product portfolio roadmap are a necessity. A roadmap simplifies portfolio planning, allowing you to visualize, prioritize, and resource projects while meeting the company’s product strategy and objectives.
Roadmaps remove the uncertainty from developing a product portfolio strategy by capturing relationships, priorities, and timelines in a single, easy-to-read resource.
What’s a portfolio roadmap?
A product portfolio contains a company’s complete range of offerings. Some portfolios are simple, having only 1–2 items, while others include several product lines. And a portfolio roadmap captures this product information and builds a holistic view of your organization’s offering, reflecting the company’s strategic direction, development goals, and initiatives. You might also use this roadmap to illustrate relationships between offerings, product teams, and company objectives.
The comprehensive view a product strategy roadmap offers enables executives to make informed decisions regarding priorities, resource allocation, and timelines. It’s a living document, continually changing as the business adapts its product strategy to evolving market and economic conditions.
Why do you need a portfolio roadmap?
Besides offering a comprehensive understanding of your company’s current and future offerings, portfolio roadmaps also serve several key purposes:
- Aligning products with goals: Incorporating your business’ vision and strategic objectives into your roadmap ensures that every product development project consistently supports and enhances these goals.
- Prioritizing projects and initiatives: Road mapping helps managers identify and focus on products that drive the greatest value to customers and the organization. This built-in visibility allows you to prioritize work and allocate resources to generate the most impact.
- Encouraging collaboration and communication: Roadmaps break down silos between team members, creating a shared understanding of product priorities, dependencies, and milestones.
- Tracking performance and progress: Product roadmaps provide a clear view of the project development process. This transparency helps managers choose the most effective metrics to assess team progress and source the data necessary to make evidence-based decisions that optimize performance.
- Building agility and adaptability: Portfolio management keeps organizations agile when facing evolving market trends, emerging technologies, and changing customer needs. It ensures you can quickly assess your current products and initiatives and adapt to a shifting business landscape, maintaining relevance and a competitive edge.
7 key elements of a portfolio roadmap
Your roadmap must incorporate information from product planning and management activities to provide a comprehensive view of your product strategy. These seven elements provide a thorough product strategy overview that enables stakeholders to make effective priority and resource allocation decisions.
1. Product hierarchy
Provide a clear structure for your portfolio by ranking your offerings according to product type, market, and importance. Establishing a structure will make prioritizing and managing product development easier across multiple teams.
Your hierarchy might include:
- Product lines, which are groups or families of related products within the portfolio based on shared features, target audiences, and technologies.
- Individual products within a product line whose evolution the roadmap will document.
- In progress and completed products with maintenance and feature updates outlined for both.
2. Relationships and dependencies
Establish relationships and dependencies between each portfolio item. Identifying how the product development efforts interact helps teams recognize collaboration opportunities, anticipate bottlenecks, and reduce backlogs while optimizing resources.
3. Product prioritization
Assign priorities by evaluating and ranking products according to their value, impact, and alignment with the company’s strategy and goals. You’ll use these to determine which projects to invest in while balancing the needs of the remaining portfolio items.
Product and feature development timeframes help project managers set realistic project plan expectations. Your timelines should reflect short, mid, and long-term goals.
Allocate budget, personnel, and other resources to maximize a product’s return on investment (ROI) within the portfolio. You’ll likely base this allocation on team and employee performance, the product’s demand, and the company’s overall strategy.
6. Metrics and KPIs
Choosing the correct critical success factors means you gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your organization’s portfolio strategy. Consider tracking the following:
- Financial metrics regarding revenue, profitability, and ROI
- Performance metrics about market penetration, product success, and customer acquisition or retention
- Customer satisfaction metrics regarding ratings, Net Promoter Scores (NPSs), and customer feedback
7. Projects and initiatives
Outline strategic initiatives and activities that support portfolio growth, including research and development projects, marketing campaigns, and partnerships.
How to create a portfolio roadmap in 7 steps
Building a portfolio roadmap is an exhaustive process that requires strategic planning, but project management software like Roadmunk by Tempo can simplify the development process.
No matter the software you use, taking a systemic approach is the best way to ensure you’ve covered all the bases. Here’s a seven-step guide to creating a portfolio roadmap.
1. Define goals and objectives
Using market research, customer feedback, and industry insights, clearly define your team’s overall offering goals and objectives, perhaps listing these out in one, five, and 10-year timelines. You’ll use this information to choose products and features to develop. You can also use this stage to ensure current product offerings clearly align with short and long-term company goals.
2. List products and features
Now, list current products and upcoming features and research and define new products you’d like to develop. Outline how each offering supports the organization’s overall growth and vision in a couple of sentences.
3. Establish product hierarchy and prioritization
Next, add the products — including new initiatives — into the portfolio hierarchy, basing classification on market segments, product lines, or other relevant categories. You can then rank products and projects based on alignment with strategic objectives, feasibility, potential value, and impact. By establishing clear priorities, executives can use the roadmap to make informed choices about the company’s direction.
4. Allocate resources
Product and project managers will work together to identify the required resources for each initiative. Based on established priorities, they’ll allocate budget, staff, and time to projects and products positioned to achieve strategic objectives.
5. Establish project schedules
Establish short, mid, and long-range timeframes for the portfolio roadmap, defining milestones and deadlines for every product. Once again, ensure these schedules align with business objectives and available resources. This step builds visibility around progress and expectations, helping all stakeholders collaborate effectively on an agreed-upon and accessible shared strategy.
Using your project management software, create a visualization of your portfolio roadmap displaying:
- The product hierarchy
- Project and initiative prioritizations within the hierarchy
Once you’ve finished the first draft, gain leadership feedback before finalizing and sharing the document with all stakeholders. Keep this roadmap somewhere central where everyone involved can access it to check on expectations and adjustments. This fosters transparency and ensures everyone can contribute meaningfully and quickly identify and address potential issues.
7. Monitor and manage
A portfolio roadmap isn’t a static document. Keep it updated and effective by conducting ongoing management that involves:
- Scheduling regular reviews: Evaluate the portfolio to ensure it aligns with the organization’s overall strategy.
- Making adjustments: Reference customer feedback, market shifts, and competitor strategies to identify potential opportunities or threats and adapt the portfolio roadmap accordingly.
- Tracking and measuring efficacy: Using KPIs, OKRs, and other success measures, assess the product portfolio’s performance and adjust as needed.
- Communicating updates: Keep everyone apprised of any roadmap changes, including context for decisions.
Create your own custom roadmap with Roadmunk
Whether you’re working in product or project management, Roadmunk by Tempo takes the complexity out of road mapping. This tool creates audience-friendly roadmaps that clearly define product priorities, resource allocation, and metrics tracking. Once complete, turn your roadmap into a template to further streamline the project management process.